Every year, the family of the late Bob Lancaster, former Chair of the Art Department, provides the university with an annual award to be given to the outstanding senior who meets the highest standards in studio art. 

This year, we are pleased to award Ms. Noel Kalmus the Lancaster Award in Studio Art.  Will Noel’s family also stand or raise your hands?  

Noel Kalmus is one of the most imaginative students we’ve ever had in the studio art department.  She invents her own worlds in drawings and paintings, filled with inventive creatures, people doing strange things, and people having odd problems, all done with a larger cultural critique in mind.   


For her senior exhibition, “Finding New Places to Be Alone”, she produced a series of images that strain ordinary credulity with an odd realism that effectively brings us into her world.  For example, Noel did two paintings of a young woman with her arms held up in front of her; the subject’s teeth had grown out so far that they impaled her arms. She got the idea from having some pet rats whose teeth, she said, grow long if they didn’t have something to gnaw.  She intended this image, in her words “to function as a metaphor for the consequences of living a decadent lifestyle, the elongated teeth functioning as a symbol of indulgent, hedonistic tendencies that can eventually bind one if they grow out of control.” All of her works go beyond the obvious subject matter to create compelling, lasting memories.


Noel was also active on campus as President of Art Association, organizing the art booth at Clusterfest, two exhibitions in the Korouva Milk Bar,and working for the Day Without Art auction to benefit AIDS organizations.  Last year she attended at the Southern Graphics Council International meeting in New Orleans, where she exhibited one of her prints at Ironworks.  She is getting an excellent start on a professional career with exhibitions including Monster Show at Domy, in Austin, Nighthawks at the Last Supper, Diverse Works, Houston, TX, Teeny-Tiny Show, Birdhouse Gallery, Austin, TX, 2011, Annual Dirty Drawers Exhibit, The Center for Contemporary Arts, Abilene, TX.


Noel is a savvy, gentle person whose presence in the studios has inspired the younger artists in the program.  Because she is an accomplished artist who is already achieving meaningful new ways of thinking and creating, the studio art department is pleased to present Noel with a book, Painting Today, and a gift from the Lancaster and Faulk families to honor her achievements.


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